Gov Okowa Launching the AIDS Programme
Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State has declared war against the spread of the Human Immune Deficiency Virus HIV/AIDS monster ravaging the nooks and crannies of Delta state. In respect of this resolve, he has committed the sum of N100million towards the fight against the scourge.
Speaking at the launch of HIV SURGE in Asaba, Governor Okowa said that all hands must be on deck to check the HIV scourge, warning that nobody should collect fees of any kind when the ailment had to do with HIV.
He also ordered all the media houses owned by the state government not to collect any fee for HIV-related campaigns, adding that laws against stigmatization and victimization would be made in the state.
“HIV Testing Services should be given top priority, particularly in our communities, which is considered critical to the overall HIV/AIDS response and to bring HIVAIDS services closer to the populace; let me assure all of you of my administration’s readiness to creating an enabling environment and support for all HIV/AIDS programmes; I am taking up the fight against HIV/AIDS as one of my administration’s top priorities. We are committing the sum of N100 million to ensure that our people, especially those who are in the riverine communities, are reached; we will treat unkindly anybody who charges users fee for HIV treatment both in the secondary and our primary health facilities.
“The Delta State Government has been offering free maternal services for all pregnant women and under-five children in the state through its equity plan in the Delta State health contributory scheme, which includes free HIV tests and counseling.
“Equally, the government has been making funds avail¬able to the State Agency for the Control of HIV/AIDS, for the procurement of HIV test kits and consumables to fill in emerging gaps in some of our facilities and support to partners; the Delta State Agency for the Control of HIV/ AIDS, which is very critical in all HIV/AIDS matters, has been repositioned to effectively coordinate all HIV/AIDS activities in the State; we are working to ensure that the legislature makes law against the stigmatization and victim¬ization of people living with the HIV.
Gov Okowa with other Dignitaries at the HIV Launch
“Also, the media houses in the state should not collect money for any publication or materials for radio and televi¬sion that will create more awareness for HIV.
“I wish to reiterate my earlier call for more partners and stakeholders, including friends of the State, to join hands to make Delta State HIV-free and provide succour to those already living with the virus; more than ever before, this is the time to redouble our commitments to tackling the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the State and on behalf of all Delt¬ans, I want to sincerely appreciate our partners, the United States Government through her PEPFAR programme, the Centre for Disease Control (CDC), CARITAS Nigeria, Catholic Relief Services (CRS), Excellence Community Educational Welfare Scheme (ECWES), Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), Faith-Based Organizations (FBOs), Community Based Organizations (CBOs) for their collaboration, assistance and privileges extended to the State over the years towards eradicating and working to attain zero HIV in Delta State.
“I call on all Deltans to massively make themselves avail¬able for HIV/AIDS test; for those that are HIV positive, they have the opportunity of being enrolled into treatment immediately because, you can live a normal and positive life with HIV and these services are free,” Governor Okowa said.
The United States Government through its Embassy Deputy Chief of Mission, Kathleen FitzGibbon called for sustained effort to identify and put People Living with HIV (PLHIV) on life-saving Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART) as it will ensure that the PLHIV live a long, normal, productive, and healthy life and it will help in breaking the transmission of the virus.
Ms. FitzGibbon also pledged the U.S. Government’s sup¬port to the people of Delta State especially in the identification and provision of treatment to approximately 63,000 people living with HIV, in addition to the over 17,500 people already receiving such treatment through the PEPFAR program in the state to help in moving the state towards HIV epidemic control by September 2020.